Call to screen patients with cancer for hepatitis B

Several thousand patients a year could be at risk of reactivated infection

All patients about to receive cancer treatment for haematological or solid tumours should be tested for hepatitis B virus (HBV) due to the risk of immunosuppressive treatment reactivating infection, specialists say.

Chemotherapy

New recommendations, published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday, are aimed at streamlining the screening and treatment protocol and overcoming current inconsistencies in clinical practice.

Australian oncology, infectious disease, hepatology and haematology specialists say patients with a chronic or past exposure to hepatitis B are at “substantial